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An FO: Veera's Here and There Hat

I love Veera Valimaki's patterns. Her focus on shape, line, and colour creates a clean, simple aesthetic that really lets knitted fabric shine. If my body shape suited them, I'd make every single one of her sweater designs. Hats however, don't require a willowy figure! Yay!

Primary colours FTW

Veera's Here and There hat is a gorgeous slouch toque that manages to be both practical and fashionable. I am pretty fussy when I pick hat patterns, as my short hair can get swallowed up in many styles. Also, hats without any volume tend to make my head (which is LARGE) look teeny tiny in comparison to my body. It's a proportion thing.

Bird painting by UnitedThread, lighthouse by EveSand, both on Etsy.

The thick, squishy garter stitch fabric gives the hat body, while the stripes and cable make a cute statement. Love it!

I used my own Everything Old Squish BFL Aran in November and Crabapple Jelly. I always feel uncomfortable raving about my own products, but I love this yarn you guys. It's soft, smooshy, and luxurious feeling, yet easy to work with and care for. I used a US size 7 needle, which created a stretchy, malleable fabric with lots of body.

I've already got lots of wear out of this cozy hat, and I know I'll get plenty more before the warm weather comes.




The Amazing Bi-Directional Striped Tube Cowl

My parents gave me a

Crazy Zauberball

for Christmas. For the uninitiated, that's a yarn brand, not a German sex toy. I've long coveted a Zauberball, but once I had it in my hands, I had no idea what to do with it. I didn't need another stripy shawl right now, it seemed a shame to put the pretty colours on my feet, I wasn't feeling mitts. Then I remembered the


I made my sister for Christmas. I hated making the chevrons, but the essence of the project was a quick, easy knit.

Without much consideration for the final product, I provisionally cast on enough stitches to go around my 17" circular US size 5 needle, joined in the round, and started striping from both ends of the ball. Four rounds from the inside, four from the outside, repeat until yarn is gone, graft ends together.

Some of the stripes are 3 and 5 rounds, because the colours synced up and had to be chastised.

It's a seamless bi-directional tube, like a donut but less delicious. Simple as that!

I took these pictures while waiting (forever) for the dog to pee. This is exactly how amused I am by his absurdly specific needs for location, noise level, and wind direction.



Katniss Everdeen Has The Best Clothes

One of my besties has a serious thing for the Hunger Games movies (and fair enough, they're awesome) so she naturally fell in love with the asymmetrical cowl-sweater that Katniss wears in Catching Fire. It's a beautiful piece - clearly handmade, in the couture sense of things.

Also it has Jennifer Lawrence in it, which would make anything look fabulous.

Now this friend of mine is most exceedingly knitworthy, as she appreciates both the process required and the finished product. She also lives in one of Canada's winteriest cities, so when she asked me to make Katniss' cowl for her I jumped at the chance to send a warm wooly hug in sweater form. We discussed some of the pre-existing patterns available on Ravelry, but in the end we decided that none of them (at the time, more have come out since) were really accurate to the piece in the movie. Being an experienced knitter, I decided I could easily do it freeform. My only intentional deviation from the film version was to reduce the bulk somewhat, for a more figure-flattering garment.

I adore this photo. It really captures the rustic halo of the yarn.

The yarn is Istex Bulkylopi. At 60 metres to 100 grams, it is, in fact, very bulky. I feel like the Icelandic breed, being a hardy sort with many primitive characteristics, would be far more likely than the Merino to survive in a post apocalyptic future. I used a size 13 needle and varied my gauge as needed using my tension rather than needle size. The neck loops are made from braided strips of recycled sari silk from a woven rug my bastard dog attacked, crocheted over with wool. The silk adds tiny pops of colour that I really enjoy, and because it's very lightweight and flexible it makes the cowl more wearable than the rope versions I had seen other knitters make. I also felt like brightly coloured silk, recycled twice over, added a bit of the feel of the Capitol and its relationship with the districts.

The cowl is predominantly herringbone stitch, knit flat and seamed, with lots of crocheted bits and bobs. I used stockinette to create shaping and textural variety in an attempt to simulate the amazing fabric in the original piece (which I really don't think is knitted or crocheted).

With the leftover yarn I also whipped up some over-the-elbow armwarmers fit for a winter revolutionary. I may put together a pattern for these at some point, but y'all are out of luck on the cowl.

All the photos (except the promo photo of J-Law, of course) are courtesy of Jeremy Clarke, who can be internet-found at I love the light and the texture and the snow! Some people just get how to photograph knits. Also my friend is a total fox and that always helps.

This project also helped me with my ongoing goal to read more, as until I made this thing I had never read the Hunger Games books. They took me just over a week, and only because I rationed them out so I could savour the story. The books were very powerful and evoked strong emotions, just like the best young-adult fiction should. Teenagers are overpowering emotion and revolution made flesh - they need books like this to fuel their fire.

What do you think of the cowl, dear readers? Would you make a freeform sweater thing? Would you wear this awesome asymmetrical piece of wearable art? What are your feels on Lopi yarn? Most importantly, on a scale of very good to completely amazing, where do you rank the Hunger Games trilogy?



Clown Socks and Hanspun!

Hello my dears. First thing - I am switching to bi-weekly shop updates. I put lots of lovelies in the shop last Friday, so keep an eye out next week! I need to dedicate more work time to preparing for my favourite show of the year, Fibres West.

Wanna see some things I finished? I am madly head over heels in love with these socks:

I have crazy clown socks and you are totally jealous.

They were knit toe up, two at a time, with a Fleegle Heel. I love knitting toe up socks, even if cuff down heel flap socks fit me best. I find the extra structure and density of the heel flap keeps the socks from sliding around.

I knit these two at a time because they were dyed in a very particular yarn prep: the sock blank. I got mine from Fat Cat Knits in her Child's Play colourway, but there are other sources if she isn't able to make you one. A sock blank is two strands of yarn held together and knit (generally on a machine) into a rectangle. The dyer then can do all sorts of fun things, creating gradients, stripes, or fascinating variegated colours. The knitter unravels the blank to knit it. I wanted to have seriously matchy crazy socks, so I did some googling and figured out how to work socks two at a time. Honestly, I deeply disliked the method and won't do it again except to knit up my other sock blank. It would be great for those of you who suffer from debilitating second sock syndrome, but that's thankfully not an issue for me.

Action shot! Not pictured: my seething irritation at all the tangling and yarn management.

Another fun project was this handspun:

I spun this yarn from matching gradient batts that I carded on my Fancy Kitty Kitten (if ever a giant spiky wool tool sounded like a sex toy, it's that one). They were a blend of superwash merino wool, sparkly trilobal nylon (also known as firestar), and recycled sari silk in my My Little Pony inspired Luna colourway. The yarn blends smoothly from grey to turquoise, marine blue, navy, and black. I think it'll make an amazing shawl.

It's a simple semi-woolen 2-ply, spun for softness and bounce. I gave it to my mum for her birthday so I can't remember the exact yardage, but I'm thinking about 400 yards of fingering weight. So pretty! Sari silk makes all the difference, adding a textured tweedy look that makes me grateful I am a spinner.

That's all for now! I'll have more fun things to share soon.



Rainbow Dash Hat - Twenty Percent Cooler

If you've spent much time with me in person, you probably know that I am a big fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It helps that I have a nearly four-year-old daughter (holy crap!) but honestly, I'd watch it even if she wasn't around. It's adorable, hilarious, and completely without cynicism. There are very few shows aimed at little girls that don't make me grind my feminist teeth, and while MLP isn't perfect, it's pretty close.

For Christmas I made my daughter a pony hat. Not just any pony hat, either. A Rainbow Dash hat. Because clearly she needed one. Sorry the photos are a little sloppy - it's not easy to keep a child still on Christmas morning.

While I improvised the entire project (I have been doing that a lot lately) you could easily modify any hat pattern to be a super awesome pony hat. I made the mane by finding the centre line of the hat and tying small bundles of yarn every few stitches.

For the ears I made simple single crochet triangles, picked up along the crown of the hat. You could also knit them and sew them on, or make them from felt.

The pompoms were the perfect touch. Both the mane and the pompoms were made from Knitpicks Felici self striping yarn. It was much cheaper to buy one ball with all the colours I needed than shell out for all six colours separately. The body of the hat is Knitpicks Brava Sport. It's a fairly pleasant acrylic to work with, though I did find it squeaky. Can't beat the price though!

Isn't it cute? I made it big enough that it almost fits me, so she'll be able to wear it for as long as she's interested in ponies!